The Los Angeles Kings’ four-game win streak came to an end last night at Staples Center against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings struggled to capitalize on the few offensive zone opportunities they had and were shut out for the first time this season by Devils’ goaltender Johan Hedberg. The Devils’ goals came from Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus, who scored twice. Many fans questioned Coach Terry Murray’s decision to start goaltender Jonathan Bernier, instead of the lightning hot Jonathan Quick. However, Bernier is not to blame for the loss. The three goals were all results of careless turnovers, and the Devils took advantage of those mistakes and made some great plays.
The first goal came from Zubrus with 6:48 left in the 2nd period. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, in fact, from where I was sitting it looked like goaltender interference, but there was no call from the referees. The second goal happened on a turnover by Anze Kopitar (that’s not something you hear often), which eventually landed on the stick of Elias before he scored on a practically wide open net. The third goal was a result of another turnover in the neutral zone. Once the Devils got control of the puck they sent it up to Zubrus, who netted his second of the night.
There aren’t a whole lot of positive things to say about the way the Kings played last night, but I thought defenseman Alec Martinez did a good job jumping in on the play and he actually had a couple of good scoring opportunities. Bernier had a few big stops in the beginning of the game, so I don’t think there is reason for the fans or the team to lose faith in him. It just so happens that during the two games he has played this season, the rest of the team has played poorly in front of him.
I have a feeling we will be seeing more action from the 4th line in games to come, as they all got a little more ice time last night, deservingly. If there was anything positive to say about the game, it was related to the atmosphere at Staples Center (no, not just because Justin Bieber was there). The Kings had their 21st consecutive sellout and despite the score, most people seemed to be enjoying themselves and even stuck around until the very last minutes of the game.
I’d like to think that this game was just a fluke and now the team will get refocused and hopefully dominate the next few games. The team leaves today to begin a three game road trip against Dallas, Phoenix, and Colorado. Fortunately, the Kings are usually pretty good on the road, but they will need to put this game behind them and really work on puck management. It hasn’t been decided who will be in net for each of the games, but I would assume J. Quick will be getting the majority of them. It should be fun to see if his shutout streak continues. Tune in to FSW on Thursday, Oct. 27th at 5:30pm to watch the Kings take on the Western Conference leading Dallas Stars.
Click here to watch highlights from Kings vs. Devils 10/25/11
Topics: Alec Martinez, Anze Kopitar, Colorado Avalanche, Dainius Zubrus, Dallas Stars, Johan Hedberg, Johan Hedburg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Phoenix Coyotes, Terry Murray